US President Biden meets with the relatives of George Floyd, whose violent death marks the first anniversary. Biden calls for action against racism – and plans a symbolic visit.
Washington (AP) – A year after the murder of African American George Floyd in a brutal police operation, US President Joe Biden met relatives of the victim.
The White House said the Washington meeting on the anniversary of Floyd’s death was attended by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black in office. Even before the hour-long conversation behind closed doors at the White House, Biden was impressed by the family’s “extraordinary courage”. The conviction of white policeman Derek Chauvin for the death of Floyd last month “was a step towards justice – but we can’t stop it,” the president wrote on Twitter. “We have to take action.”
Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, sparked months-long demonstrations against racism and police brutality in the United States. Biden was then an American Democratic presidential candidate. He has made the fight against racism one of the central concerns of his tenure.
The White House announced on Tuesday that Biden would travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 1, the anniversary of a racist pogrom in the city. Exactly 100 years ago, crowds of white attackers destroyed countless black businesses and burned hundreds of homes. Dozens of blacks died and hundreds were injured.
Biden is also campaigning for a police reform bill named after George Floyd. He had unsuccessfully asked Congress to pass the bill no later than Floyd’s death. The House of Representatives, controlled by the Biden Democrats, passed the bill in March. In the Senate, however, Democrats depend on the votes of multiple Republicans. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday that Biden gave Congressional negotiators “time and space” to discuss the law. She took note of the progress of the negotiations.
Among other things, the law states that the federal government must create incentives to prohibit strangulation during police operations. Police officers’ immunity should be limited to facilitate prosecution after improper use of force. In addition, a national database for misconduct by the police will be created under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice. This is to make it more difficult for violent police officers to hire other police authorities after their release.
In April, police officer Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder in a Minneapolis trial for the murder of Floyd. The verdict has not yet been announced. The trial of three of Chauvin’s alleged henchmen will begin in March next year. Videos show Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck over nine minutes a year ago as the 46-year-old begged to let him breathe.
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